Family says sailor who died after collision a hero

(WKYC) We’re learning more about the Elyria native who died when a U. S. Navy Destroyer collided with a container ship off the coast of Japan, early Saturday morning.

The seven crew members of the U.S.S. Fitzgerald who perished were identified Sunday.

READ MORE: Ohio man among 7 sailors killed on USS Fitzgerald

One is 37-year-old Gary Rehm, Jr. of Elyria.

“He always helped everybody. Somebody needed a helping hand, he was there to help them. He was just that kind of guy,” said Gary’s uncle Stanley Rehm.

The Navy says a container ship collided with the U.S.S. Fitzgerald in a part of the ship where sailors were sleeping. Gary’s family has learned, he entered the flooded compartment to bring trapped sailors to safety.

“He went back to get the other ones and I guess from what I understand they had to close the hatch, because the ship was taking on water,” said Stan.

His family says he may have saved up to 20 lives.

“He died a hero trying to save the people on his ship,” said Stan. provides commenting to allow for constructive discussion on the stories we cover. In order to comment here, you acknowledge you have read and agreed to our Terms of Service. Commenters who violate these terms, including use of vulgar language or racial slurs, will be banned. Please be respectful of the opinions of others and keep the conversation on topic and civil. If you see an inappropriate comment, please flag it for our moderators to review.

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